Friday, March 20, 2009

Two subjects, cuisine and ecology

Continuing with cuisine
In my earlier post, Of cuisine, climate and ketchup I mentioned that ‘English’ vegetables like tomato, cabbage and carrot have become a regular part of the South Indian Cuisine. But other items of foreign origin, like Brussels sprouts, artichokes and broccoli are rarely used. Probably the reasons are limited availability and cost.
Let me jump to ‘thoran’. It is basically a Kerala side-dish eaten with rice. This preparation in which grated or ground coconut is an essential ingredient can be made with several vegetables.
Now, you might wonder what the connection is between, say, Brussels sprouts and ‘thoran’. Incidentally, this vegetable looks like a tiny cabbage. They belong to the same family. Brussels sprout is actually a wild cabbage and is considered to have medicinal properties.

Yesterday I came across an interesting post Brussel Sprouts in the blog Kitchen Reels. It gives the recipe for Brussels sprouts ‘thoran’. A fusion of East and West, indeed. Being from Kerala, ‘thoran’ is a daily affair on our dining table. I have told Annie, my wife, to try it with Brussels sprouts.

Ecology: Where have the hills gone?

On December 18, 2007 I had published a post, Ecology: Vanishing Hills, stressing the dangers of indiscriminate mining and consequently, flattening of our hills.
Today’s Times of India Chennai edition carried a report on the Supreme Court’s three judge Special Forest Bench presided by the Chief Justice is considering a ban on mining in the Aravali Hills spread over Rajasthan and Haryana States.
Indiscriminate mining is playing havoc with the delicate groundwater system in the area and accelerating desertification. No preventive or protective steps like reforestation, it seems, are being taken.
According to the report, the question now appears to be who should pass prohibitory orders, whether the Central Government, State Government or the Court.
Given below are two photos of Aravali Hills:

From Wikimedia Commons under
--> Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5

From Wikimedia Commons under

Click on photos to enlarge


meerasworld said...

i make mezhukkupuratti with broccoli and it comes out really good.but tried sprouts once,and i just didnt like the taste at all.

trueblue said...

Dear Mr.Tharakan,
I am Aswathy ( from KitchenReels).Thanks for the mention in your blog. As meerasworld, said , the sprouts thoran doesnt taste as good as broccoli thoran. Recently, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer ( which she has successfully survived now) and it was an eye-opener for us to make changes in our own food-styles, and to try and live healthier earlier in life itself. Also my 2 yr old toddler is a veggie-lover ( broccoli, mushroom and "koorkka" are his favorites).. hence all the experiments with nutritious greens.
As a blogging-novice, I was all too thrilled when I noticed KitchenReels mentioned in your post.We are fans of your Olavipe home..and hope to visit on our next trip to India.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Meera, thanks for the comment. Also, thanks for giving the idea of broccoli thoran.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Aswathy, I mentioned you in my post because what you wrote was worth mentioning.

It is a long time since we had 'koorkka'. I must remind my wife.

You are lucky that your son is a veggie lover. I remember the problems we had to make our children eat vegetables. Now it is the turn of the grandchildren.

Olavipe is a wonderful place, worth visiting.

Keep blogging. All the best.

Kariyachan said...

Dear AT Sir;

Regarding mining, most of the sand hills in Thyckattusery area has also vanished in good time.

Most of my childhood days vacation days were spent with cousins, sliding down the slopes sitting inside a 'Paala' of the arecanut tree.

Spending many evenings atop a sand-hill , gently caressed by the wind, reading something or simply contemplating about anything and everything, with a 'kooja' full of water were one of my favourite passtimes.

Another ceremony during the summer vacation was "Kulam Vettu",operating the motor pump, refilling kerosene in the pump at regular intervals, jumping to the ponds to catch fish when the water was almost drained off, and interrupting the 'panikkaru' etc.

AT sir; It would be a really interesting read , if you were kind enough to post an article about 'Kulam Vettal" at olavaipe, with some graphics.